Example Of Art & Architecture Essay
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the world and second in the world in attendance (after the Louvre). Metropolitan Museum contains one of the largest collections of art in the world - more than two million items. This is not just a museum, but the real center of culture. The museum is located on the so-called "Museum Mile in New York" - section of the Fifth Avenue from 47 to 107 Street, which has comprises major museums in the city.
Founded in 1870, MET was formed by donations of individual citizens. Donors were rich industrialists (J. P. Morgan, Horace Havemeyer and his wife Louise's). Funding for the museum was initially very small, the museum began to order only copies of famous works of art. Prominent role in the formation of the museum played the private collection of H.O. Havemeyer (1847-1907), passed by his widow in 1929. In this collection there are paintings of Degas, El Greco, and Goya.
All collections of the Metropolitan Museum are divided into 19 independent sections, each of which contains its own staff of curators, restorers and historians.
One of the richest sections of the museum is "Greek and Roman art", which contains about 35 thousand copies, including the very first exhibit of the Metropolitan Museum - Roman sarcophagus.
"Egypt section" of the museum, is also one of the richest in the world. In one of the halls of this section a whole ancient Egyptian temple of Dendur is exhibited.
These two are considered to be the most distinguished in the world, and I, personally, liked them the most. Now let me take you to the adventure which will show you 5 major sections of the MET and their most distinguished items. I hope you will enjoy both the masterpieces and my humble comments on their origins and historical background. So, feel free to enjoy!
Section "The Art of Egypt" was enriched by donations from the owners of archaeological treasures. In this section, there are about 36,000 objects of art of Egypt on display in the forty thematic galleries. Exploring Egypt Collection I was really impressed by “Head of King Amenmesse Wearing the Blue Crown”, which is actually a part of the statue from Temple of Amun in Karnak. Simple but, nevertheless, distinguished style of this item matches the style of Ramses 2 statues of the same era.
Amenmeses was one of the lesser-known kings of Dynasty 19. Reign of Amenmesse (ca. 1203-200 B.C.) is still considered by many specialists quite controversial. The very name "Amenmeses" means "born of or fashioned by Amun". Additionally, his name can be identified as “Heqa-waset”, which means "Ruler of Thebes". Finally, he called himself Meriamon, which means "Beloved of Amun" (Kitchen, 134-35).
Many of his monuments have been destroyed or usurped after his disappearance from the political arena. No written sources that could verify the existence of his “royal blood" can be found, but he could be a descendant of one of the many sons of Ramses II.
Amenmeses tomb was discovered in ancient times and described by the traveler R. Pocock. However, a comprehensive study was conducted only in the 1992-93 expedition of the University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. Otto Shedena. The first column of the hall dedicated to Amenmeses reveals a surprising similarity with the tomb of Merneptah. Interior corridors also contain images of two royal women, led by gods and goddesses in the afterlife. (Dodson & Hilton, p.286)
After departure of Amenmeses his tomb was almost destroyed by Seti II. Only several statues of Amenemeses, which he had erected between the columns of the hypostyle hall of the temple at Karnak, remained. Made of quartzite, these statues were created with great skill by the best masters of his time. From one of these columns comes “Head of King Amenmesse Wearing the Blue Crown” ranked in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum. For many years this portrait was without proper grounds attributed to Ramses II, but in the 1970s it was found that the head is perfectly suited to the statue of Amenmeses in Karnak, which allowed to give an accurate attribution of the monument.
The Ancient World Section presents works from Cyprus, the sculpture of ancient Greece, ancient Rome, and the Roman wall painting as well. I would like to show you the Terracotta calyx-krater (mixing bowl) dating 400-390B.C.
The second quarter of the fifth century B.C. is the heyday of late classical red-figure vase painting, with its unusual variety of subjects and themes, composite solutions, and artistic techniques. Artists working in this period, were no longer unable to convey complex poses and angles of the human figure, muscular naked bodies as well as the folds of clothing. Vase painters, working side by side with the masters of monumental painting, were not only watching the works of the past, but also tried to use their quest and achievement in the paintings of vases. Vividly, these trends are evident in the multi-figure scenes on large vessels - craters and amphorae.
Long lines of dense black lacquer on this vase alternate with thin, barely perceptible strokes of golden tones. Not overwrought, concise and clear, this vase radiates freedom, harmony and strict restrained rhythm. To my mind, this, basically, routinely used vase is a symbol of prominent style. Standing now in MET as the symbol of the whole era, it could have served as simple bowl for a merchant.
Roman Gallery at the MET is rather humble compared to its other sections. The reason is banal enough: an increased interest to the culture of the late Roman Republic and the Roman Empire led to the fact that the most significant and interesting exhibits by the time when MET was found, had already found their owners in the face of other famous museums in the world. Nevertheless, in order to understand the MET Roman art gallery, you must have an idea yet about the processes occurring in that era; otherwise the understanding of what you see is, to say the least, superficial.
The marble statue of a bearded Hercules created in the era of the Early Imperial Classicism is actually a roman copy of Greek statue. The statue dated A.D. 68 – 98 is perfectly sculpted depicting the original image of Hercules (as Greeks imagined him). To my mind, this Hercules, with lion’s skin over his head and shoulders is traditional for ancient romans. The statue was restored during the early 17th century, but arms of the statue of Hercules have been eventually removed. The sculpture is said to serve as an element of decoration in so popular at that time public bath.
The head of Hercules is covered with the skin of Nemean Lion. According to Greek mythology, Hercules killed this noble animal and used his skin as armor. Greek myths also had an impact on his appearance.
So, to my mind, this statue is an extraordinary example of classical roman sculpture with its beautiful expression of naked human body and devotion to Hellenic principles.
Small in size, "Madonna and Child", attributed to brush of Duccio di Buoninsegna, came in sight of the general public only in 1904, when at the exhibition in Siena it was presented by Count Grigory Stroganov. One hundred years later, in 2004, "Madonna" became the most expensive ($ 45 million.) acquisition of MET.
Altarpieces, created by Buoninsegna with their ornamental gold tones, sonorous exquisite colors are lyrical, emotional and refined with linear rhythm. The image of Madonna with a Child was very popular in Italy in XIII-XIV centuries. The famous work of Duccio was also instrumental in the establishment of this tradition.
Madonna's appearance in this picture has physiognomic features typical for the Byzantine painting: narrow eyes, elongated oval, characteristic "Byzantine" nose. However, there are striking details not typical for this style, such as how the Christ Child supports the hood of his mother. An important compositional innovation is the parapet in the foreground. Madonna and Child with all the solemnity are much livelier than in the earlier images of the Madonna.
The Middle Ages
The Cloisters Museum is a unique type of museum, which allows you to feel as if you are back in time observing not the historic works of art, but rather a contemporary culture. All articles of the museum are presenter within the meticulously detailed interior. The result is that any work of art is seen as it was originally intended to be seen by the author. Cloisters are timeless. You enter the medieval era and forget about life outside the Gothic walls of galleries.
Gardens are designed according to medieval tradition. Plants and architecture resemble the character of Roman Gothic chapels and gardens. Gorgeous statues and columns surrounding the typical Mediterranean garden make you feel as if you are not in Manhattan, but in Renaissance Italy. All objects displayed here are not considered to be exhibited, they just look like organic parts of exterior
But the most distinguished masterpiece in the Cloisters Museum, to my mind, is a Merode triptych, painted in Tournai in the 15th century. Why so? Of course, there are lots of other interesting and beautiful articles here, but this small-scale painting makes all the gallery be devoted to its private devotion to the Middle Ages. It is one of the greatest paintings to survive from this period in the Southern Netherlands. It used to convey a revolutionary approach to the subject on Annunciation. Usually, most Annunciation scenes were shown in churches. This triptych was the first to show it in contemporary 15th-century interior from northern Europe.
Such works brought people into the scenes through domestic interiors as well as through precise concentration on details. Especially, Joseph and his tools for crafting furniture and the view of the city in the window make us feel involved into this sacred process. It was created during the first days of oil painting, which allowed bring precision to the next level. The work remained untouched in its virginity. That is why I feel like going to the Cloisters museum for many times again and again in order to enjoy this little painting.
Having reviewed so many collections and works of art writing this paper, I dare say, that MET is not a museum of art – it is a museum of museums. It comprises so many different cultures under one roof that it is almost impossible to cover all the items presented here. From ancient Egypt to modern American art, each item is on its place. Each collection is presented here due to the endless efforts of people like J. P. Morgan or Horace Havemeyer. MET has impressed me with variety of forms and shapes, diversity of cultures and outlooks. People from all over the world arrive here to examine at least the least part of its treasures. But the most important thing that I have discovered about MET is that its collection is actually a work in progress. Each day new objects arrive here to become a national treasure available to everyone. Who knows, maybe in 100 years our daily routine will be described in one of the gorgeous premises. This place is out of time, this place is about mankind as a whole. Only here history is so close, that you can literarily ‘touch’ it.
K. A. Kitchen. The Titularies of the Ramesside Kings as Expression of Their Ideal Kingship. ASAE 71, 1987. Print
Aidan Dodson & Dyan Hilton. The Complete Royal Families of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, 2004, no.130
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